President Trump on Wednesday said he is considering banning the Chinese social media app TikTok amid fears the communist country could be using it to spy on Americans.
“We’re looking at TikTok, we’re thinking about making a decision,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn before departing the White House for a day trip to Texas.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who accompanied Trump, said that TikTok is being probed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, charged with examining deals by foreign acquirers for potential national security risks. Mnuchin said he’ll make a recommendation to Trump later this week.
Trump’s comments came a day after Joe Biden’s presidential campaign banned staffers from using the video-sharing app, citing security concerns.
Dana Remus, Biden’s general counsel, ordered staffers in a memo to delete TikTok from both personal and work phones, and to ‘refrain from downloading and using TikTok,’ according to Bloomberg.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently issued a warning for Americans who use TikTok. “With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too,” he said. “I don’t want to get out in front of the President, but it’s something we’re looking at.”
The Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill that would ban the use of TikTok on government-issued devices. The “No TikTok on Government Devices Act,” sponsored by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
An amendment from Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) that would ban federal employees from downloading the app on their government phones made it into the Democratic-controlled House’s version of the annual defense spending bill that passed earlier this month.